University first with £9,000 charge

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LEEDS University has become the first in the region to confirm that it plans to charge the maximum £9,000 a year under the controversial new tuition fee system.

The cap on fees will be trebled from next year as universities look to recover money lost through massive cuts in Government funding for teaching degrees.

Leeds University announced yesterday that it aims to charge students £9,000 a year – the maximum allowed under the new rules.

MPs voted to raise tuition fees to between £6,000 and £9,000 at the end of last year amid widespread protest. Ministers claimed universities would only be allowed to charge up to £9,000 in “exceptional circumstances” but the vast majority which have announced fees so far have said they aim to charge the full amount.

This is set to cause problems for the coalition Government, which has based its future funding of tuition fee loans on the assumption that the average amount charged would be £7,500.

Labour MPs have warned that if most set fees at or close to the maximum £9,000 then more funding for teaching may be lost.

Leeds Metropolitan is the only other Yorkshire university to announce its fee level. The former polytechnic plans to charge £8,500 a year from 2012.

All universities wanting to charge more than £6,000 will have to take extra steps to help students from poor backgrounds.

Leeds University’s £9,000 fee includes plans for students with a household income of less than £25,000 to be able to choose between a £3,000 fee waiver, a cash award or an accommodation discount.

Students from households with no income will be entitled to £6,000 in their first year and £3,000 in their second and third years.

Leeds University’s vice chancellor Prof Michael Arthur said: “We have always believed that anyone with the talent and ambition to succeed should be able to come to Leeds and these proposals will ensure that remains the case.”